Jumat, 29 Agustus 2014

INDONESIA'S DIVERSITY SLOGAN SHOWCASES HARMONY TO UNAOC

 By Andi Abdussalam  
        Jakarta, Aug 29 (Antara) - Amid different conflicts arising from diversities in the global arena, Indonesia is promoting its "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika" (Unity in Diversity) slogan in creating national harmony during a United Nations forum on civilizations in Bali.
         "In our world, many people with respective reasons are suspicious about differences and diversities, which is why they create hostilities," Indonesian President Susilo Bambang  Yudhoyono stated at the opening of the Sixth Global Forum of United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), on the Indonesian island of Bali on Friday.
         According to Yudhoyono, Indonesia has been cultivating its diversity through its 'Bhinneka Tunggal Ika' slogan, as the basis for developing harmony.
         He cited Indonesia as an example, which is situated along the trade route linking the Pacific and Indian Ocean, for managing, for centuries, its relationships with different world cultures and civilizations.
         "In a process that has been taking place for centuries, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and western cultures merged with local cultures to become part of our nation's cultural heritage," he asserted.

Kamis, 28 Agustus 2014

PERTAMINA LIFTS SUBSIDIZED FUEL OIL SALE RESTRICTION

 By Andi Abdussalam    
         Jakarta, Aug 28 (Antara) - Subsidized fuel supplies are expected to return to normal, once state-owned oil and gas Pertamina lifts sale restrictions that are causing long queues at refilling stations in several regions in the past several days.
        "We have lifted the sale restriction policy to normalize supplies and hope that long queues at refilling stations will end in the next three days at the latest," Hanung Budya, marketing and commercial director of Pertamina said, Wednesday.
         Pertamina took the step after the government provided a guarantee to bear up to 30 percent of the cost above national need if consumption exceeded the subsidy quota, Hanung explained.
         The government has set the subsidized fuel quota of 46 million kiloliters in the revised 2014 state budget. However, this quota is predicted to run out by the end of November or early in December 2014, prompting Pertamina to rearrange its distribution so that it will not finish until the end of the year.

Selasa, 26 Agustus 2014

JOKOWI WARNED OF ECONOMIC "TIME BOMB" THREAT

 By Andi Abdussalam   
          Jakarta, Aug 26 (Antara) - The next government will face various issues in improving people's welfare and in developing the country's economy amid low economic growth and high rates of poverty and unemployment.
         "The next government under President-elect Joko Widodo, better known as Jokowi, must take bold steps such as conducting a budget 'revolution', removing economic distortions, and raising economic growth," Thomas Ola Langoday, dean of the Economic Faculty of the Widya Mandira Catholic University (Unwira), East Nusa Tenggara, said on Monday.
         He noted that the next government should focus on increasing economic growth to about seven percent in order to prevent the emergence of time bomb threat.
         If economic growth remains at only about five percent, as at present, the new government will encounter a vicious circle, which will be difficult to overcome, Thomas Ola Langoday warned.
         "It should focus on maintaining annual economic growth at over seven percent," he added.

Senin, 25 Agustus 2014

PANIC BUYING TRIGGERS LONG QUEUES AT FUEL STATIONS

 By Andi Abdussalam
          Jakarta, Aug 25 (Antara) - The government's move to restrict subsidized fuel sale to maintain quota, so that stock will not run out until the end of the year, has sparked panic paying and queues at refilling stations in several regions.
         "People have the impression that stocks of subsidized fuels are running out and that the government will raise fuel prices. This has triggered hoarding and panic buying," Ikhsan Modjo, a politician of the Democrat Party, told a TvOne Talkshow on Monday evening.
         Media reports have stated that President-elect Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, has plans to meet President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the end of this month to discuss fuel oil subsidy reduction in the Draft 2015 State Budget.
         Fuel subsidies have so far been considered a burden to the state budget.
         "Yes, we want to obtain approval. We will hold a meeting first and then understand its calculation," Jokowi was quoted by Tempo.co as saying on Monday.
         Ikhsan Modjo noted that the rumor that fuel oil prices will be raised has resulted in panic buying and hoarding. He, however, categorically did not agree if the price of subsidized fuel will be raised.

Minggu, 24 Agustus 2014

JOKOWI EXPECTED TO BUILD SUNDA STRAIT BRIDGE

 By Andi Abdussalam     
          Jakarta, Aug 24 (Antara) - The next government under Joko Widodo, or better known as Jokowi, is expected to continue its predecessor's plan to realize the Sunda Strait Bridge (JSS) project which can boost economic development in Java and Sumatra.
         Acting Governor of Banten Province Rano Karno hoped that the central government through the new president will realize the construction of the Sunda strait bridge.
         The JSS construction plan has virtually been included as one of the strategic projects of President Susilo Bamang Yudhoyono.
         Unluckily, the project is still untouched while Yudhoyono's tenure will already end next October.
      "The regional government of Banten province is waiting for the central government's decision. After all, the central government has set up a team of seven to dealt with the JSS project. So, let us wait," Rano Karno said after opening the  'Banten Beach Festival' in Anyer on Saturday.
         A couple of years ago, the central government formed a team of seven in charge of working out a term of reference (ToR) for the construction of the project.
         The members of the team consist of Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto, then Finance Minister Agus Martoardjojo, Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam, Minister/State Secretary Sudi Silalahi, Law and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsuddin, Industry Minister MS Hidayat and Minister for National Development Planning Armida Alisjahbana.
         The team was discussing the funding system of the 27.4 km bridge project that spanned over the Sunda Strait. To be built at a cost estimate of Rp250 trillion, the bridge will link Java and Sumatra islands.

Sabtu, 23 Agustus 2014

INDONESIA TRIES TO CONTROL TOBACCO WITHOUT TREATY

 By Andi Abdussalam 
          Jakarta, Aug 23 (Antara) - The Indonesian government has long tried to protect people from the injurious effects of smoking, while at the same time continuing to enjoy significant amounts of tobacco taxes, reaching over Rp80 trillion annually.
         The World Health Organization (WHO) has, since May 21, 2003, circulated a treaty, called the FrameWork Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), in an effort to control tobacco consumption.
         The Indonesian government, however, has not yet displayed its intention to ratify the convention, as many favor and oppose the treaty at home.
         Of course, the ultimate goal of the treaty is to reduce the number of smokers, something that will have an impact on tobacco farmers and industries, as well as state revenues from cigarettes and tobacco taxes.
         Despite the fact that Indonesia has yet to ratify the convention, the government has been attempting to launch anti-smoking campaigns.
         To this end, the government has begun a campaign banning smoking in public locations. It has also issued Regulation No. 109, 2012, which bans the sale of cigarettes to youths below 18 years old.

GOVT TO EVALUATE IMPACT OF PICTORIAL WARNING ON CIGARETTES

 By Andi Abdussalam
          Jakarta, Aug 23 (Antara) - Facing opposition from various quarters as it looks to accede to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FWCTC), the government has asked cigarette companies to put gruesome pictures on cigarette packets to discourage smokers.
         Indonesia has been launching anti-smoking campaigns with written warnings on cigarette packets but it seems it is not effective enough. According to reports in Kompasiana publication on May 4, 2014, Indonesia has the third largest number of smokers in the world with cigarette consumption at about 305 billion pieces in 2012.
         Ideally, the government would like to accede to the FWCTC which aims to reduce the number of smokers and protect the present and future generations against health damage. Yet, that move is opposed by many quarters, including tobacco farmers and the sections of the industry.
         Therefore, it is now doing its best to discourage smokers. Beginning June 24, 2014, cigarette packets will carry pictorial warnings with gruesome images of people suffering from different tobacco-related diseases such as oral, gangrene, mouth, neck and lung cancers.
         The pictorial warning on cigarette packets will be effective in reducing the number of smokers and preventing young people from taking up the habit, Health Minister, Nafsiah Mboi, believed.